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[Discuss] Small website, non-technical users: Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress? (Solved)

Bill Horne wrote:
| On 1/6/2014 11:30 PM, Bill Horne wrote:
| > Thanks for reading this.
| >
| > I'm a member of the Big-8 Board, which decides what Usenet groups are
| > created and deleted.  We have both technical and non-technical
| > members, and we've been using MediaWiki for the board's website
| > ( until now, but we have to move the site to a
| > new server which doesn't offer it.
| Thanks to all for your help: I've just gotten off the phone, and the
| decision has been made to go in a different direction. We have a
| volunteer who wants to learn "native" HTML, and so we'll be setting up a
| "static" site without a CMS.
| I appreciate your time and advice.
| Bill

Heh.  For some reason, I'm reminded of that classic  cartoon  showing
all  the  ways  that  various  "experts"  designed  and  built  their
interpretation of what the customer wanted, which was a tire  hanging
on a rope from a tree branch.

I had a similar case recently. I've helped a few nonprofits build web
sites, and several have started off looking into Drupal, Joomla, etc.
After a month or so of this, with nothing working,  I've  combined  a
few  scripts  that I've collected or written anew with a few of their
designs for the pages they want, and in  a  week  or  two  they  were
happey with the results.

But the fun part is after that, when we  were  discussing  what  they
really  need,  and why my stuff was still too complex.  Finally, I've
persuaded a few of the orgs' members to try my idea that they learn a
bit  of  HTML.   Of  course,  they've looked at HTML manuals, and run
terrified from the incomprehensible technical gobbledy-gook that they
saw.   HTML  is  this  horrible stuff that mere mortals don't stand a
chance of understanding, right?

But I persuaded them to try a few experiments.  I start them  with  a
few plain-text docs that look like the pages they want, and show them
that these "work" when put on the web, but cause problems on  various
screens.   Smart phones are nice for this demo.  Then I show them the
effect of wrapping them in a simple <html><body> ...   </body></html>
wrapper, and adding <p> tags between paragraphs.  "Hey, that's really
simple; why didn't anyone tell us that?" Then I show them a few  more
tags,  <b>, <i>, and then the all-important <a href="..."> tags.  And
they're off and running, building some of the pages they want. I keep
emphasizing that they should just learn it "one tag at a time".

The result has been that the orgs' web sites are now run by a few  of
their  members  that  have learned just enough HTML to do the job.  I
have to teach them a bit about debugging a page, of course.  And some
of  them have even started to learn basic CSS.  Their sites are often
rather impressive to interested visitors.  I attribute  this  to  the
fact  that  they're  mainly  concerned with getting their information
online, and view HTML as a tool to  make  it  readable  on  visitors'
screens, whatever size they might be.

This won't work for every org, of course.  Some of them actually need
wordpress  or  drupal or whatever.  But a fundamental problem is that
people often don't know what they need, and are prone to being  taken
in  by  people who want to sell them the ultimate solution to all the
world's Web problems.  So maybe what we need is  a  reliable  way  to
determine  when  static  pages with simple markup are sufficient, and
when we need a high-powered Solution to complex  marketing  problems.
But  I  don't  know  how to translate people's amorphous desires into
requirement specs.  I suspect nobody does.

 <:#/>  John Chambers
   +   <jc at>
  /#\  <jc1742 at>
  | |

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